Live Virtual Group Session: 12pm EDT October 28th 2020

We welcomed 26 participants from across the U.S., Canada, France and India to our virtual workshop today, with many returning and several newcomers. Inspired by the recent “Creative Impulse” weekend workshop, we departed from our traditional visual text format and listened to “Steroid-Induced Gastronomy” an episode from CHONY Corps, a new podcast series created by MS alum and pediatrician, Anoushka Sinha.

We played the 5-minute recording just once, asking participants to listen closely and jot down words, phrases, imagery and sounds they heard. Then we invited them to write for 3 minutes the story that they heard. Some participants shared what they wrote, and these writings focused on themes of creativity, determination, relationships and resilience. It was noted that the boy, Jake, though only 10, seemed wise beyond his years, exploring his experiences with food and taste during his treatment with curiosity and the irony of how he had changed since he was ”younger”. It was observed that only his mother spoke of his treatment-related symptoms of bad tastes and mouth sores, which drew an arc for the listener between child, food, and illness recognizing food as a gift of strength. One participant observed the background music of a xylophone seeming to be childlike, or a soundtrack to a children’s story. The preparation and sharing of food within the family was likened to a “table of ministry.”

After the story sharing, we opened it up for a group discussion. One participant noted with interest how differently some people had approached the writing exercise: from a historian’s point of view it was about documenting a series of events while others interpreted what they heard instead. Several physicians spoke to the importance of engaging a patient to talk about what they’re interested in as presented in this podcast. Jake’s acknowledgement that food “doesn’t just appear” (once he slowed down to appreciate it and cook for himself) reminded us that we could better appreciate his story once we slowed down and listened to it, uninterruptedly. Finally, it was also clear that love is often shown through food, as Jake and his mother had no trouble in declaring their love and mutual pride in each other’s strength and support.

Our writing prompt, “Write about a hunger,” inspired a variety of forms and creative expressions: a list that reminded us of a recipe or a children’s book with its repetition and rhythm, an introspective look at one’s privilege of being able to care for others while defining success by one’s ability to guarantee survival, a medical-care memory of a surprise reunion and a miracle of hope,  a search for tranquility marked by “growling words,” and a visceral description falling asleep with a full belly: reality or folly?

Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.

Also, we would love to learn more about your experience of these sessions, so if you’re able, please take the time to fill out a follow-up survey of one to two quick questions!

Please join us for our next session Monday, November 2nd at 6pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

5 thoughts on “Live Virtual Group Session: 12pm EDT October 28th 2020

  1. Julia

    As a student in Nutrition and Dietetics, the first topic that appears in my mind is hunger for food and the effects of malnutrition. Living in Brazil, I always heard about starvation and hunger. It is such a difficult topic that is still present in our world.This story we just heard emphasized the relation between food and affection. I just seem not to be thinking about hunger for food today. What a huge privilege of mine! At the same time that I am grateful for not being hungry for food, all I can see is hunger for the pre-pandemic life. I am hungry for what I was able to do before and am not anymore. I may now be hungry for those actions taken for granted before everything. I am hungry for the vaccine. What will I be hungry for after that?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A hunger~~~

    The soul yearns for peace in this world of turmoil.
    I hunger for tranquility and calmness to flow about me.
    Words, combative in nature, are being constantly battered about,
    banging and growling against the insides of my mind.
    So much distrust, so much hatred!

    Viewpoints have become swords cutting into the fabric of our society.
    Have we all lost the sense of what truly is important,
    or is it simply “you against me”?

    This hunger keeps me awake at night with its churning;
    it is there waiting for me when my eyes open in the dim light of dawn.
    Will this hunger for peace ever be satiated?
    I wonder and pray for that,
    for this hunger is eroding away the strength of my heart.

    Falling asleep with a full belly.
    Reality or folly?


    • Michele, this line is perfect: Viewpoints have become swords cutting into the fabric of our society.

      You words resonate with me deeply. You’ve described my feelings better than I could have. The erosion of your heart describes to me how I feel like giving up, not believing any news, not hoping for a good soul to arise to lead us out of this morass.

      Perhaps the greatest gift is that you don’t end in a puddle of despair. Instead, you pose a provocative question for us: Falling asleep with a full belly. Reality or folly? Bloody brilliant.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. al3793

    I hunger for…time
    with my beloved…
    The intrusion of my work
    upon our time together
    is so discouraging.
    In my early years as a Family Physician
    it felt good to be so important
    that i could be forever late
    for everything because what I
    did was important – to everyone -and it still is.
    Now I want to slow down as time speeds along.
    I want to be less important
    be smaller
    and satiate
    that hunger
    for time…
    with my beloved…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Time is ethereal. As humans, the best we can do is to try to use it wisely, to satisfy the domain of the outside world and the domain of the heart. Most of the time, there will be a level of conflict– were the correct decisions made. In the end, do what brings you peace as you lay in your bed at night.

    Liked by 1 person

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